Kathleen,80, is 'loving every minute' of busy life

Community activist Kathleen Ross-Hale has been recognised in the Scottish Parliament for her tireless work as she celebrates her 80th birthday.

Ms Ross-Hale has edited local community newspaper The Dedridge Grapevine for more than 30 years, as well as taking a central role in numerous other local organisations.

She said: "Unlike most people my age I don't get much time to relax in the old rocking chair.

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"I like to get involved and keep myself busy. I love every minute of it though."

Ms Ross-Hale started the Grapevine shortly after arriving in Dedridge in 1976.

Born Kathleen Paton in Forfar on 26 May, 1930, she spent much of her early life moving around as a wartime evacuee while both of her parents were engaged in the war effort.

Her father Ross Paton fought with the Royal Army Service Corps in Italy, while her mother was a driver in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She attended a range of schools including Forfar East School, Boroughmuir High, George Watson's College and Trinity Academy.

After the war the family settled in Blackhall, and Kathleen married her first husband James Harding in 1952, with whom she had three sons, and moved to Hawick and later Dorset. The couple separated in the early 1960s and Ms Ross-Hale moved back to Edinburgh.

In 1976 she moved to Dedridge with her second partner William Ross-Hale and soon became involved with the local community.

She said: "I went to a community council meeting where everyone was shouting about how the local newspaper never arrived in Dedridge, and how they wanted to set up their own newspaper. It was all talk and no action though, so I decided to do it myself."

As well as her community activities Ms Ross-Hale spent 20 years as secretary to the assistant principal at Stevenson College, and also published a series of her own children's books including Linda's Elephant and Three Little Boys.

At 80, on top of editing the Grapevine, Ms Ross-Hale holds the vice chair posts at Dedridge Community Council and Lanthone Community Centre, is secretary of the Murieston 50+ Club and sits on the committee of retiree educational group The University of the Third Age. She celebrated her 80th birthday in a cottage in Bonnybridge, surrounded by her five children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Her tenth great-grandchild Kian was born on Saturday.

Her achievements were recently recognised at Holyrood in a motion by local MP Angela Constance.